Was there anything more exciting growing up than getting to leave school and ride the bus to a new and exciting place? Fortunately, Florida is home to endless historic landmarks and educational attractions. If you grew up in Florida, chances are you might have taken one of these awesome field trips as a kid. For an awesome day reliving your childhood, try revisiting one of these fun and educational trips.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. St. Augustine
St. Augustine is not only the oldest town in Florida, it’s the oldest town in the country. That means there’s plenty to do here, with more than 450 years of history to explore. When you arrive in town. Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the country, is always a popular spot on field trips.
2. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Titusville
Is there anything cooler to a kid than getting to pretend you're an astronaut? At the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, guests can view relics of some of NASA's most impressive accomplishments. On display is the largest rocket ever flown, that took the first human beings to the moon. Don't forget to try the games and interactive exhibits, including an incredible shuttle launch simulator.
3. Medieval Times, Kissimmee
This is educational fun at its best. As a kid, the jousting and sword fights accompanied by spectacular modern lighting and production were like nothing you'd ever seen. As an adult, it might seem a little corny, but it's still irresistibly fun.
4. Mission San Luis de Apalachee, Tallahassee
At the Mission San Luis de Apalachee, visitors step back in time to a 17th-century Spanish Franciscan mission in west Tallahassee where the native Apalachee and Spaniards lived side by side (though not always happily) for decades. Guests can watch traditional foods being prepared, a blacksmith at work, a soldier at the fort, and a friar at the church.
5. Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Clearwater
This nonprofit aquarium is dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of sick and injured marine animals. Winter, a bottlenose dolphin who was injured in a crab trap and became a resident of the aquarium, gained notoriety when the aquarium fitted her with a prosthetic tail. You may also recognize her from the Dolphin Tale children's movies. This is a great place to visit, no matter what your age.
6. Museum of Discovery and Science, Fort Lauderdale
This huge museum is one of the largest and most popular in the state. Guests can take a (simulated) ride through the Everglades or even to Mars, and get up close with lots of native Floridian plants and animals.
7. Edison & Ford Winter Estates
It doesn't take a genius to appreciate winters in Florida, but these two legendary American icons appreciated their winter estates in Fort Myers for many years. Tours here offer a glimpse into their lives, including Edison's laboratory, but you'll find that the gardens are just as impressive.
8. Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, Ponce Inlet
This striking red lighthouse stands at 175 feet, making it the tallest lighthouse in Florida. This landmark located south of Daytona is open seven days a week for climbing. There is also a museum and three keepers' houses to explore. This iconic spot makes a great field trip, no matter how long you've been out of school.
9. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Naples
Bring binoculars for this two-mile boardwalk through marsh, wet prairie, pine flatwood and the largest Bald Cypress forest left standing in all of North America. You might spot gators, white-tailed deer, native birds, and even a rare ghost orchid.
10. National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola
Come check out more than 150 historic aircraft at this 35-acre indoor/outdoor naval aviation museum, which is the world's largest. It's fun and fascinating for kids and adults. Best of all, it's totally free.
11. Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa
Zoo trips were always a favorite in my classes. This nonprofit zoo in Tampa covers more than 60 acres. The zoo features a Florida Wildlife Center, a safari tram ride, the impressive Primate World, small rides for children, and much more.
Did you visit any of these fun (and educational) Florida attractions as a kid? What other favorite field trips do you remember?